Sunspots, also referred to as age spots, are dark areas that form on the skin due to excess exposure to sunlight. They are generally harmless but can have a cosmetic impact on the facial appearance.
Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles is world-renowned for his expertise in treating sunspots. He is available to teach patients about sunspots and other cosmetic issues and identify ways to correct these problems.
What Are Sunspots?
Sunspots are age marks on the face and other areas of the body. They develop due to prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
If people spend too much time in the sun without using sunscreen or other forms of sun protection, they may experience sunspots. In these instances, people are also increasingly susceptible to wrinkles, sunburns, and other forms of sun-damaged skin.
People with light skin are more likely to experience sunspots than others. Also, people who have a history of intense sun exposure or sunburns may notice age spots at different points in their lives.
Sunspots typically range from tan to dark brown, and people age 50 and older are more prone to age spots than others. Additionally, even though sunspots may look dangerous, they are usually not cancerous.
Oftentimes, a sunspot is flat and oval, and it ranges from about the size of a freckle to about ½ in. People may notice one sunspot or multiple sunspots, and they can form on the face, hands, shoulders, arms, and other parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time.
Are Sunspots Preventable?
To prevent sunspots, people must limit their sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate the outer layer of the skin. When this happens, UV rays can enter the deep layers of the skin and destroy or damage skin cells. As such, UV rays can cause sunspots and other short- and long-term skin damage.
There are many things that people can do to minimize the risk of damage from UV rays, such as:
1. Avoid the Sun During Peak Hours
The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Therefore, people should try to stay in the shade or indoors as much as possible during this time frame to limit the risk of sun-damaged skin.
2. Apply Sunscreen Regularly
Use sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and apply it at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be used on the face and other parts of the body that will be exposed to sunlight. It should also be applied generously and reapplied at least every two hours.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothing and Accessories
A broad-brimmed hat, tightly woven clothing, and other apparel and accessories can help protect the skin against the sun’s UV rays. Clothing and accessories with an UV protection factor (UPF) of 40 or higher is usually ideal.
There may be times when people do their part to prevent sunspots but still experience age spots and other skin problems. At these times, it is important to receive a proper diagnosis and pursue treatment options. This ensures that people can get the help they need to address any skin issues before they cause long-lasting damage.
How to Diagnose Sunspots
At the first sign of sunspots or any other skin changes, people should meet with a doctor. Then, a doctor can evaluate the patient and determine the best treatment option to correct any skin issues.
To diagnose sunspots, a doctor will visually inspect a patient. The doctor will examine the patient’s age spots and any other skin issues. Furthermore, the doctor will review the patient’s medical history to find out if he or she has previously dealt with any skin problems.
Along with a visual inspection of a patient, a doctor may request a skin biopsy to properly diagnose sunspots. The biopsy usually involves removing a small sample of a patient’s skin and examining it in a lab. Thanks to the biopsy, the doctor can determine if the patient is coping with a sunspot or another skin issue.
How to Treat Sunspots on the Face
Laser skin resurfacing has become a top option to treat sunspots on the face and other areas of the body. In addition to reducing or eliminating age spots, laser skin resurfacing helps patients correct wrinkles, scars, and other skin blemishes.
Dr. Azizzadeh provides DOT Deka laser treatments to patients coping with sunspots. He first evaluates a patient to learn about their age spots and any other skin issues. If Dr. Azizzadeh believes his patient can benefit from laser skin resurfacing, he crafts a plan to perform a DOT Deka laser treatment.
Before a DOT Deka laser treatment is performed, Dr. Azizzadeh requests a patient stop using hydroquinone and any other retinol products. He asks his patients to stop using these products at least five days prior to a laser skin resurfacing procedure. Dr. Azizzadeh also provides other instructions to help patients prepare for DOT Deka laser treatments.
During a laser skin resurfacing procedure, Dr. Azizzadeh applies a local or topical anesthetic to the treatment area. Next, Dr. Azizzadeh carefully uses a laser to treat sunspots and other sun-damaged skin.
Laser skin resurfacing takes up to two hours to complete, and patients may experience some skin tenderness, discomfort, and redness for seven to 10 days after the procedure. Dr. Azizzadeh also shares postoperative care instructions to ensure his patient can maximize the results of treatment.
Schedule a Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh
Dr. Azizzadeh is available to discuss laser skin resurfacing to address age spots and other visible signs of aging on the face and other parts of the body. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us online or call us today at 310-657-2203.